Published on Oct 21/2014 by Dorling Kindersley Ltd
"Highlighting the debuts of iconic super heroes like Superman and Batman, the geniuses that invented them, and the real-life events, like the Vietnam War, the atom bomb, and the Space Race, that shaped the atmosphere of the times, DC Comics: A Visual History follows the characters' foray into the real world through TV series and blockbuster movies.”
Yes, this is a book about DC Comics, so I’ll restrain the Marvel Zombie within me long enough to provide an impartial review. And for the record, I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.
At first glance I was a bit put off by the book’s slipcase as it highlighted DC Comics’ New 52. However, when I pulled out the hardcover, I was blown away by Ryan Sook’s cover. Wow. Sook lovingly renders each DC Comics age in a beautiful montage, channeling Murphy Anderson, Bill Kane, Frank Miller, and George Perez just to name a few! After flipping through the book, the cover captures the effort and completeness of this visual history.
This 375-page hardcover is an update from the 2010 Edition (DC Comics: Year by Year – A Visual Chronicle), adding 16 new pages for 2010-2014.
The book is dense and while it’s titled a visual history, there’s a huge effort by a team of writers to cover each year, month by month. These write-ups aren’t simple issue summaries, but instead capture the importance of these comics with a critical eye and discuss their significance and creative teams. Also, a nice little added touch was the real world history ticker at the bottom of the pages, that gives you a few of that year's news headlines.
The book covers the entire history of DC Comics, from the Golden Age, to Silver Age, to the Bronze Age, and the New 52, right up to the current year. And they cover these ages in impressive detail. For example, the 1980s section runs over 50 pages.
And speaking of the 1980s, for obvious reasons I paid close attention to that section. It was certainly a fun read through, reminding me of how industry leading DC Comics was. They not only introduced the limited series, which they expanded into maxi-series like Camelot 3000, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Amethyst, but broke ground with the new formats (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns’ prestige format and The Teen Titans’ Baxter format series.
DC Comics: A Visual History is a gateway drug that will have you hunting down the other DK Visual History books, like DC Comics Villains and Batman, all recently published in 2014.